Montrezl Harrell of the Houston Rockets defends Blake Griffin of the LA Clippers during game at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California on April 10, 2017. Getty Images

The Los Angeles Clippers may have hit the panic button when they traded away all-star point guard Chris Paul to the Houston Rockets last week. Naturally, they tried everything they could to retain star big man Blake Griffin — apparently even likening him to civil rights leaders including Martin Luther King Jr.

The Clippers reportedly re-signed Griffin to a five-year, $173 million contract Friday and according to ESPN’s Marc J. Spears, they persuaded him with a graphic T-shirt, which social media apparently found to be inappropriate.

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After meeting with the star power forward, Clippers personnel reportedly wore a T-shirt comparing him to civil rights pioneers Muhammad Ali, Martin Luther King Jr. and Abraham Lincoln.

The shirt included Griffin at the top of a graphic containing the faces of Martin Luther King Jr., Barack Obama, Mahatma Gandhi, Albert Einstein and Nelson Mandela and the words "LA Pioneers" appeared at the bottom.

So far, neither Griffin or the Clippers have released a statement regarding the shirt. Sources told ESPN that players initially got the shirts during the preseason. The original iteration apparently was sans Griffin and intended to embolden them to live like those pictured on the shirt.

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Many took offense to the Clippers T-shirt that compared Griffin to social justice icons and leaders. Here are a few of the angered responses.

The controversial shirt may have nothing to do with the NBA. The league is usually involved in community organizing and outreach programs. The NBA acknowledged Black History Month in February and paid homage with t-shirts of their own. NBA players wore t-shirts honoring Black History Month while they practiced before games as a cue to reflect on the significance of African-American history in the United States.

The Oklahoma City Thunder hosted its ninth annual Black History Heroes Challenge this year, sponsored by Sprite —which incorporated a written and visual arts contest for Oklahoma City youth to honor an exceptional person from African-American history.

Thunder players also visited schools and donated “Martin’s Big Words,” a book about Martin Luther King Jr.’s involvement in the Civil Rights Movement. In a February interview with NBA.com, Thunder players revealed what Black History Month meant to them. Thunder guard Victor Oladipo spoke on the importance of looking back at history and paying homage to predecessors.

"It means a lot to me to be able to celebrate people of my culture who came before me and paved the way for me to be able to do the things that I do today," Oladipo said.

He added, "To be able to be an African-American athlete in the NBA, there are a lot of guys who paved the way for that, who kind of set the tone and made it possible for all of us to be able to play the game that we love. It’s an honor and a blessing to be able to celebrate them in the month of February."

Point guard Russell Westbrook gave his outlook on what civil rights meant to him and the importance of revisiting the history of it.

"I think more people should be recognized, whether it’s Martin Luther King, Malcolm X or whoever it is, people should have individual games and days and things of that nature because of the different things they did to change the world we live in today," said Westbrook.

He added. "We have a lot of younger guys in the league who are 21 who may not understand the African-American culture, to me, that was important."

Chris Paul and Blake Griffin talk with Wesley Johnson #33 and Jamal Crawford #11 of the Los Angeles Clippers on the bench in during games versus the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California on December 25, 2016. Getty Images